Tuesday, October 1, 2013

From Doubting to Believing


“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”  Mark 9:24

This man believed.  He had doubts too.

Do you ever feel that way? 

Faith is necessary for salvation. 

Faith in the blood of Jesus – yes – that is just what is needed.  In Romans, scripture tells us that faith will count as righteousness.    

“…the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…  Romans 3:22

Unto all, and upon all, that believe.  That means me.  That means you.  

God did not turn his back on this desperate father that we read about in the Gospel of Mark who believed, yet struggled with doubts.  Crying out, this man asked for help not only for his possessed son, but also with his own unbelief, & Jesus did just that as He changed this family’s lives that day.

faith in GodI needed faith, & God changed my life too.  I was young, & not very armed with God’s truth, but my salvation began with a choice.

I chose to believe.

Limited in knowledge & understanding, with inborn & life given fears mixed with a dash of cynicism, I decided to follow Jesus.   

Before too long, I found myself asking Him to help me with doubts and unbelief that cropped up, as Satan enjoyed toying with my frailties.    


“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”  Matt. 7:7

In time, many an experience would increase my faith in the Savior whom I know is trustworthy.

Here are a few things that I’m hoping will help to increase your confidence in Christ, or help you to be armed when you come across someone that is struggling with fears & doubts about trusting Jesus as their Savior.  

1.  Obviously, Jesus is a historical fact.  For the Bible skeptic, there is other historical documentation that tells of Jesus’ healings, followers, death, & resurrection.  An example is this excerpt from The Antiquities of the Jews/Book XVIII by Flavius Josephus:

Josephus“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” 

                                        
bibleSeeing that even some secular history testifies to Jesus can be helpful. 

However, God’s Word is our most reliable source.
 
“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.”  1 John 5:9 
                                                                              
 
2.  The old testament is full of prophecy that gave Israel the ability to rule out any imposters & validate the genuine credentials of the Messiah.   

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  Isaiah 7:14  (See also Isaiah 9:6; 45:21-22; and 53, just to name a few…)

These scriptures were written hundreds of years prior to the birth of Christ!  The prophecies of the Old Testament confirm with certainty the identity of Jesus Christ.  The odds of someone matching up to these prophecies were astronomical, yet He was a perfect match.  

“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,” Gal. 4:4

The fullness of time did come, and God loves us so much that He sent forth His Son.  Not just a prophet, not just a teacher, not just a man of God.  The Son of God.  The Savior of the world… 

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9

3.  When we get down to it, skepticism is doubting the truthfulness of God. 
 

“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.”  1 John 5:10

God does not deceive.  He tells us in His Word that His Son Jesus is the only way to eternal life. 

4.  I’ll set the scene here on my fourth and favorite point.  The disciples were terrified.  Their intimate friend, the one that called them to be fishers of men,

Jesus calling first disciples

the one that they saw heal the sick, that turned little into plenty, that walked on water…had been apprehended and was to be crucified.

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'Christ Walking On Water'  Modified Color for Ben McPhereson
Imagine the panic they must have felt!  They deserted Him… 

Cowards!  …? 

(Did I grab your attention?  Truth is, had I been in their sandals, I may’ve done the same, but I really don’t want you to miss this point…)

They deserted Jesus.  Why do you suppose they did?  Out of fear?  Doubts?
    

But they were anything but cowardly after the resurrection…
Why do you think that is…?  

These same men BOLDLY preached Christ, in spite of knowing that they too would likely suffer death for doing so…(And all did with the exception of John).  Yet they courageously preached the gospel!

There is only one logical conclusion.  All doubt was erased and fear paled as these men saw with their own eyes that Jesus was alive.  

In the words of John: 

“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” 
1 John 4: 14-15      
 
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5.  The disciples weren’t the only ones that would risk life & limb to spread the gospel. 

Because of his Roman citizenship, mixed with his background of a Jewish education, Paul was afforded a life full of opportunity & worldly comforts.  Yet once he experienced Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul traded in living the good life for spreading the gospel, which resulted in being chased, shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, & imprisoned.  Yet that was okay by him.  He was a man on a mission!

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” he writes, in Phil. 1:21.

Within weeks of the resurrection, thousands more abandoned their religious & social practices, becoming convinced that Jesus is the Son of God, in spite of facing the possibility of brutal Roman persecution.  

Ah, my friend, these few evidences that I’ve mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg.  There is so much to say on this subject that I could fill a book!  But I won’t.  God did that already.
           

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3 comments:

Jazzmin said...

What an amazing post! I enjoyed reading it and was so uplifted and refreshed by your words and the things you shared... seeing things that just strengthen our faith even more are a true blessing.

Have a wonderful day!
~Jazzmin

Betty Smith said...

Thank you for such an inspiring post.

Jacqueline said...

A wonderful way to arm oneself for the battles of doubt and unbelief! Remember giants Doubt and Despair in Pilgrim's Progress?
Thank you for taking the time to share and exhort us~!

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